As I read today’s article, “Heart on Hold,” I started nodding in agreement within the very first paragraph. As a single who has dated far longer than I thought I ever would, finding the courage to keep putting myself out there in the pursuit of marriage can be tedious and difficult. Sure, meeting new people is fun and exciting, and the anticipation when you meet someone you really connect with is awesome. But the rejection that comes when you realize it isn’t the right fit and the disappointment that comes with surrendering the dream of marriage all over again is hard. Really hard.
The article’s author, Elisabeth Adams, describes a recent season in her life where she’s been meeting lots of great single guys this way:
“While it’s great to know there are so many godly guys out there, the maybes and the almost-relationships stir up longings I’d rather keep asleep while I wait. The receiving (and even the giving) of rejection that’s necessary when I can’t honestly pursue marriage with someone: It hurts. And the desire to honestly consider any potential spouse God brings my way means a process that keeps my heart excruciatingly on hold … repeatedly and so far without results.”
I’ve experienced desert seasons in my dating life and seasons of abundance. And both seasons require the same thing: keeping your heart open and expectant, while continuing to trust God to fulfill His will in your life in His timing. And most of the time I can be thankful for what I’ve learned in times of want and in times of plenty.
I love how Elizabeth packs so much wisdom in what she shares about her own lessons in the journey.
“Don’t selfishly brush people off. Make multi-faceted decisions about who you will consider as a mate. Tweet This Factor in the Bible, your emotions and intuition, the counsel of the Holy Spirit and others, and the results of prayer and observation. Focus on character first, and give a little grace. You’re still growing; so is this potential mate. Asking you out by text might be a sign of immaturity, but don’t deprive yourself of a solid person by clinging too tightly to rules of thumb.”
Ultimately, what it comes down to is us holding loosely to our expectations. Your expectations for a relationship are most likely different than the person you’re dating, and until you’ve talked about it and communicated those expectations, it’s not fair to judge someone based on a matter of preference or assumptions.
And the author also reminds us to love each other well, whether the relationship lasts for two dates, two months or two years. In the midst of meeting someone new, my prayer is always that whatever the outcome, he would be better for having known me. It’s not always possible, but as much as it depends on me, I don’t want to leave a trail of broken hearts in my wake.
“If you meet a guy or girl who communicates well, then thank them! Rather than contributing to the numbers of walking wounded, let’s build one another up. If you have hurt someone else (I know I have), then ask for forgiveness. This isn’t a contest where we can’t risk showing weakness. We’re family first, and potential lovers second. If someone has hurt you, give them the benefit of the doubt. Healing from that hurt is hard enough. Do yourself a favor, and keep bitterness out of the mix.”
So if you find yourself keeping your heart on hold, take comfort that the waiting is never wasted.